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2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

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I got PhD admission in Integrative Life Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University and in Molecular and Cell Biology at University of Texas at Dallas. I like the research work at both the places for my doctoral studies. Which one should I choose?

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On 3/22/2019 at 5:18 AM, Shomeek Chowdhury said:

I got PhD admission in Integrative Life Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University and in Molecular and Cell Biology at University of Texas at Dallas. I like the research work at both the places for my doctoral studies. Which one should I choose?

Think about where youd like to live if all else is equal. As someone who grew up a couple hours from VCU/Richmond, I would not want to live there lol. Pretty dangerous/not the best area if you arent used to it.

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11 hours ago, glialstar said:

Think about where youd like to live if all else is equal. As someone who grew up a couple hours from VCU/Richmond, I would not want to live there lol. Pretty dangerous/not the best area if you arent used to it.

Hmm I thought Richmond's reputation has gotten a lot better? I'm originally from the Richmond suburbs--- don't venture into the city that often but I know a lot of people enjoy it.

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10 hours ago, 7layermagik said:

Hmm I thought Richmond's reputation has gotten a lot better? I'm originally from the Richmond suburbs--- don't venture into the city that often but I know a lot of people enjoy it.

The suburbs and outskirts of town are fine, but downtown and VCU are still pretty rough. I visit friends at VCU a few times a year and theres always something bad happening (assault, theft, etc). If you know how to handle yourself in a city youll be fine, but its just an extra caution that has to be taken in areas like that. A lot to do, but there are def safer city options elsewhere.

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I've heard back from everywhere now and I've got offers from Ohio State micro and U of Florida micro-cell; I'm leaning towards Ohio State but it's tough. Anyone who's attended or been accepted to OSU or UFl I'd love any input you have, and to talk to my possible future cohort!

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On 3/30/2019 at 11:29 AM, glialstar said:

The suburbs and outskirts of town are fine, but downtown and VCU are still pretty rough. I visit friends at VCU a few times a year and theres always something bad happening (assault, theft, etc). If you know how to handle yourself in a city youll be fine, but its just an extra caution that has to be taken in areas like that. A lot to do, but there are def safer city options elsewhere.

I completely disagree. I love Richmond. I've been here for four years and honestly would stay if I could. Its a really cool city, lots to do. It's just a city, so obviously you have to take the normal precautions. But, honestly after all my grad school interviews, no city compares to how awesome Richmond is. It's not too big or too small.

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Hi guys I'll be attending Northwestern's IBIS program, and will be starting a summer rotation! It would be nice to get to know some of my cohort. Also, any tips on living in the Chicago-area would be greatly appreciated. ūüėĀ

 

Edited by leeal0011

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On 3/31/2019 at 8:56 PM, leeal0011 said:

Hi guys I'll be attending Northwestern's IBIS program, and will be starting a summer rotation! It would be nice to get to know some of my cohort. Also, any tips on living in the Chicago-area would be greatly appreciated. ūüėĀ

 

I'll be attending Northwestern's NUIN program so maybe I'll run into you in Evanston! It would be nice if there are some events to get to know students from IBIS and DGP as well.

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1 hour ago, 7layermagik said:

I'll be attending Northwestern's NUIN program so maybe I'll run into you in Evanston! It would be nice if there are some events to get to know students from IBIS and DGP as well.

Hey y'all incoming DGP student here. See ya in Chicago

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1 hour ago, 7layermagik said:

We should do a first year beach party :)

Let's throw the biggest beach banger! ūüéČ

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On 4/2/2019 at 1:30 AM, MLC2019 said:

Has anyone heard back from MIT after being waitlisted?

Nope. I'm waitlisted there too, and it's my first choice. Hoping they tell us before the 15th. 

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What went wrong?  5 schools applied to, 0 interviews, 5 rejections.

Tough to discuss as I thought I had dotted all the i's and crossed all t's.  Feel free to give me your input/feedback.

In short, I applied to 5 MCB or genetics programs.  They consist of:  UWashington, MIT, Harvard, Duke, and Stanford.

In 3 years, I finished with a 4.0 majoring in MCB with minors in biochem and business administration.

I had a 5.5 writing, 164 verbal, 167 quantitative.

I'm only a secondary author on 1 paper which hurts, but I did complete my own CRISPR research that is at the very least going to receive a provisional patent, along with being the primary author on the methods paper.

Everybody I've talked to, including several post docs who went to Harvard said I'm more than qualified, yet I wasn't even offered interviews.  Any insight or recommendations would be appreciated.  

Thank you.

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8 hours ago, crispr2019 said:

[...]
Everybody I've talked to, including several post docs who went to Harvard said I'm more than qualified, yet I wasn't even offered interviews.  Any insight or recommendations would be appreciated.  

Thank you.

Your stats are great, and it seems like you have good research experience, so maybe you should take a look at your SOP(s) and evaluate your fit to the PIs you were interested in. I would talk to a prof/post-doc who helped you out with your apps about how to improve them if you plan on reapplying in the next cycle, and make the next year count.

Honestly, you also have to consider that those are all 5 extremely competitive and selective programs. They probably have hundreds of applicants with scores and CVs just as good as yours, and not everyone thats qualified can get an offer. Maybe think about applying to other top public R1 schools where your creds and research will stand out more (if they're a good fit for you).  In the meantime, I hope you find something else that works out!

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Anyone else in the MCIBS program at Penn State? I've accepted their offer!

Also, I was just notified about being offered the NSF GRFP!

Congratulations to everyone on your decisions and successes. I am so excited for all the research we'll be making possible!

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16 hours ago, crispr2019 said:

In 3 years, I finished with a 4.0 majoring in MCB with minors in biochem and business administration.

I have a lab mate (current grad student) who finished college in 3 years and when she was applying, she was told that it was controversial whether that would be a positive, negative or irrelevant factor. Did you get specific comments on that from those who helped you? Otherwise, your stats and experience are really great ("second author on 1 pub" definitely did not hurt).

You may want to have a few others read over your SOP, preferably people who don't know you well to offer an uninfluenced opinion (I'd be happy to do so if you want to share). Especially since your stats look great, I'd particularly look for parts that could be interpreted as arrogant or presumptuous (I have another lab mate who sat on the adcom of his program, and he said there was one person whose application looked perfect except the SOP just read like "you'd be so lucky to have me" - everyone voted a straight nope on that one). Not at all saying you held that attitude, it's just that sometimes one's tone doesn't come off as intended when read by a stranger.

Although I agree in general research fit is important, I'd assume for the schools you applied to there should have been enough breadth to fit your interests (unless you had a very specific subfield in mind and indicated that in the application). And yes, apply to less selective schools. Also, could there have been an unhelpful LOR?

Anyway, sorry and best of luck!

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17 hours ago, crispr2019 said:

Tough to discuss as I thought I had dotted all the i's and crossed all t's.  Feel free to give me your input/feedback.

 

Echoing the others here in saying that your profile is top notch.

It really seems like it's probably SOP and/or LOR-related - especially given the fact that you're applying to really top tier schools, who will get a lot of applicants who check all the boxes and need to sort them out by way of less than stellar SOPs and recc letters.

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I appreciate all of the responses.

I too was wondering about the LOR's.  I had my PI and another professor who wrote an LOR review my SOP.  They both gave me the stamp of approval, but maybe it was still not what they wanted?  I would be more than happy to send my SOP to get the feedback if anybody has the time, maybe that can give me some insight into ways I can improve for the next application cycle.  

I don't want to think I could have had a less than favorable LOR, but I suppose it's possible?

Thank you.  

Edited by crispr2019

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17 hours ago, crispr2019 said:

I appreciate all of the responses.

I too was wondering about the LOR's.  I had my PI and another professor who wrote an LOR review my SOP.  They both gave me the stamp of approval, but maybe it was still not what they wanted?  I would be more than happy to send my SOP to get the feedback if anybody has the time, maybe that can give me some insight into ways I can improve for the next application cycle.  

I don't want to think I could have had a less than favorable LOR, but I suppose it's possible?

Thank you.  

I know someone who had a LOR be the culprit of all her rejections. Undergrad prof said he was happy to write one. After getting so many rejections, she was able to get insider input on why and it turns out that prof wrote something blatantly false, but a red flag, about her. Our suspicion is that he either didn't remember her at all when he agreed to do it or that he was rewording a letter he wrote for someone else and didn't change that part.

Never know what might happen.

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